Emerging research investigating the role of the host microbiome in health and disease has provided revolutionary insight into the complexity of microbiome influence on host immunologic, metabolic and physiologic pathways, however microbiome research remains in its infancy. Interrogation of the complex intersection of host microbiome and system response has led to the revalidation of existing mouse models of human disease and to the development of novel animal models.
An interesting Seminar at the recent Aalas in Baltimore explored both the science and the technology of this emerging field. Presenters explained the complexity of traditional specific pathogen free mouse models and the influence of the microbiome on disease modeling and reproducibility. An internationally recognized food-allergy research scientist shared her experiences in the progressive development of a mouse model of food allergy and the associated mucosal immunology. Description of the value and limitations of each of the models developed and utilized as well as the success in the translatability of a human fecal microbial transplant model in ex germ-free mice have been mentioned.
A presenter who is a prominent Gnotobiotics Core Director discussed the challenges and opportunities faced by the laboratory animal community in support of microbiome research. The presenter illustrated the challenges of existing facility design and equipment, underlining that biocontainment and biosecurity concerns have to be taken into consideration when using (human) microbiota.
The integration of flexible film and semi-rigid isolator housing with biocontainment and bio-exclusion ventilated rack technologies for the demand of high throughput studies have been discussed with a lot of attention from the Audience. The final presenter shared her technical experiences in managing a gnotobiotic facility with the current technologies for germ free and gnotobiotic research.